On a faraway planet very similar to Earth, a peaceful mountain town has been ravaged by long-term wildfires. Fearing for the survival of their community, the townspeople have decided to solicit external aid. Audiences are invited to step into this other world and help the community take the next steps toward long lasting prosperity. Through several interconnected video games and performances, audiences will see the town and its inhabitants react to the choices they make, slowly realizing the consequences of seemingly simple decisions.
Audiences are invited into the space via a portal into this world. Immersion begins from the elevator, where the indigenous soundscape plays. As they enter the lobby, audiences are briefed of the situation by an actor, given headsets, and then led into the main room. An actor in the translation booth narrates the town’s current events into these earpieces, while visuals on the screens of the main room show the changes in the landscape. By participating in four video games (to be played on each individual’s smartphone) and one collaborative board game, audiences can help the townspeople gather resources, rebuild infrastructure, strengthen their education, trade with other settlements, and create relationships with other civilisations, all to ensure this mountain community can sustain itself in the foreseeable future.
Audiences must balance decisions that may impact the townspeople in both beneficial and detrimental ways. For example, while collecting environmental resources may be useful for infrastructure development, it may upset the generations-long connection the townspeople have had with nature. How do you maintain a supportive relationship with the local community while simultaneously crafting efficient solutions for its long-term development.
After the Wildfires is heavily inspired by David Merrill’s (2013) “pebble-in-the-pond” method for instructional design. Merrill suggests that,rather than designing from pre-defined learning objectives, which will often change as the students progress through learning material, instructional design could start from a key problem, where the different approaches to solving said problem, and the subsequent problems that are encountered, constitute the learning plan (Brown & Green, 2016).
Location: PPP Nexus, Expo 2020